“This is the first time we have ever played in the sunlight” Sascha Ring told the crowd at Glastonbury last Sunday with a wry smile. He had a point. Moderat’s music usually soundtracks dark clubs and stark concrete spaces. The gorgeous sun that was setting gently over the site’s undulating hills was an unusual backdrop for the Berlin trio’s cascading take on stadium-sized electronic music.
Moderat are the closest thing dance music has to a rock band right now. They tow the line between the grittiness of Berlin’s underground scene and the sweet melodies of Depeche Mode.
Pinning down exactly where they lie on the spectrum between electronic and traditional forms of music is difficult. They are not a production outfit who have taken to the road in order to interpret their songs live. Nor are they a live band seeking to introduce elements of dance music into their tracks.
What they are is one of the few groups that have genuinely achieved a synthesis of dance music and traditional rock and pop aesthetics. Dressed in black, you would expect them to adhere to the sullen stereotype of the heads-down techno DJ. In reality, the trio’s performance at the West Holts stage, however sweeping and dramatic, was at its core pure entertainment.
Maybe that’s why their music appeared to fit the festival stage so perfectly. Maybe that’s also why the trio seemed so at ease with the grand scale of the crowd they were performing to.